What is it about these magical herbs that are so refreshing and deliciously cooling? According to science, mint plants contain a chemical compound called menthol that feels and tastes cool. WebMD reveals that spearmint also contains a compound called carvone, giving it a milder flavor, whereas peppermint contains higher levels of menthol and menthone, adding to its invigorating coolness.
Pediaa tells us that menthol is a crystalline monoterpene compound that occurs in nature, and is synthetically manufactured. Both mint and menthol are used in cooking, cosmetics, and medicine, and both also have antibacterial properties. Products developed to remedy aches and pains use menthol as an ingredient for its analgesic and anesthetic qualities. Mint tea, meanwhile, is a home remedy for digestive issues, and has long been used for mild colds, menstrual cramps, muscle soreness, and tension headaches; it’s also a delicious treat.
According to Live Science, menthol, the ingredient in mint responsible for its cool feeling, is actually just playing a trick on the brain by engaging with specific neuron receptors that contain a protein called TRPM8. Your mouth or skin thinks it’s cold but it isn’t. In other words, the cool feeling you get from mint and menthol is all in your head!